Success stories

Our customers come in all shapes and sizes.

We work with organisations from all walks of life, with different ambitions and requirements. Explore how we’ve helped them reimagine everyday, and align technology with their culture and business goals.

How technology can help businesses reach their sustainability goals

IT teams have an important role to play in helping organisations achieve their sustainability goals. Explore the technology that can support your business here.
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5 ways to reduce your digital carbon footprint at work

Remote work has helped many people reduce their carbon footprint in relation to travel, but at the same time their digital carbon footprint has increased. Here are 5 ways to reduce this too.
View case study >

Digital transformation winners in the financial services sector

Businesses that were already undergoing digital transformation when the pandemic hit have seen serious return on investment in the last 12 months. Especially in the financial industry. Find out how financial firms are succeeding with new technologies.
View case study >

Remote education – balancing productivity and security

With remote education the norm for many students this year, how can you balance productivity with security? Read our blog to explore the solutions >
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Is this the year of the paperless office?

Could your office be paperless by the end of 2020? Here we explore 3 factors that are driving the paperless workplace, and how to achieve this goal.
View case study >
docusign esignature

DocuSign is now part of our Digital Productivity Portfolio

Cloud Business is pleased to announce the addition of DocuSign – the global market leader in e-signature solutions to our cloud services portfolio. As digital workplace experts, we specialise in helping our clients harness digital productivity within their working environments. DocuSign’s Digital Transaction Management and eSignature services are proven to play a pivotal role in increasing productivity within the Digital Workplace, especially in an Office 365 user environment. Explore how DocuSign increases digital productivity DocuSign is proven to deliver cost savings to an organisation: According to DocuSign, workplaces on average will save $36 per document processed electronically rather than a traditional paper based format. This is because by implementing electronic signatures, and contract processing and retention, it enables companies to reduce printing, paper, communication, legal, and storage costs. Particularly for organisations with multiple sites and those who need to retain and refer. So a company signing 100+ documents a month will save $3600 per month or an annual saving of $43000+! DocuSign significantly helps reduce your companys carbon footprint. The materials we use to buy, sell and build have an extraordinary effect on the environment, as well as the productivity and bottom line of your business. That’s why the smartest option is to, whenever possible and if not entirely, skip the use of paper. DocuSign has recently announced reducing consumption of approximately 837 tons of paper or nearly 14,230 trees. No longer will you need to waste expenses to print and send long winded proposals and wait a week for them to be signed and then sent back. DocuSign cuts this process in half, saving you money, time and the environment. DocuSign will improve team collaboration through its out-of-box integration with Office 365 – At Cloud Business, we are strong believers that technology should bring teams together and increase employee engagement. DocuSign’s out-of-the-box integration with Microsoft Office 365 means that users benefit from a seamless, end-to-end e-signature solution integrated into their most familiar and widely-used applications. For example, users can create and send a document for approval and signature in Word; send, receive, and sign attachments securely from within Outlook; sign, request a signature on, and track the status of documents in a SharePoint library; and save completed documents. This then will improve productivity and collaboration within departments including sales, finance, HR, IT, legal, support, marketing, and procurement. Want to find out more about how to drive productivity with DocuSign for Office 365?Download our e-book to learn more about DocuSign’s partnership with Microsoft Office 365 and the seamless end-to-end users benefits. 
View case study >

How technology can help businesses reach their sustainability goals

Across all industries, businesses are working hard to become more sustainable to create a better world for future generations. This is evidenced as 80% of the world’s top companies now report on their sustainability. 

Over the past 5 years technology giants, such as Microsoft and Apple, have pledged to become carbon neutral, with many smaller organisations following suit. For businesses looking to become more sustainable, technology plays a major role. In this article we discuss how technology can help businesses reach their sustainability goals.

3 ways IT can support business sustainability strategies

Migrate on-premise infrastructure to the Azure Cloud

Migrating on-premise infrastructure to the Azure Cloud has many benefits for a business. Financially moving to Azure allows businesses to only pay for the resources they use. With legacy on-premises infrastructure there is a significant upfront investment for the technology, the installation, as well as the costs involved with maintenance, energy and cooling. If the organisation needs to upgrade it involves upgrading all the hardware, which can take months. Similarly, there’s no easy way for businesses to downgrade if their needs change over time.

This directly relates to the environmental impact of on-premise infrastructure. When a business installs on-premise infrastructure, there is an embodied carbon impact from manufacturing the infrastructure, as well as operating carbon impact from running it. 

Running on-premise workloads in Azure instead, reduces the embodied carbon impact as new infrastructure doesn’t need to be built to upgrade resources. Operating carbon is also reduced, as Microsoft has implemented next generation server cooling methods that reduce energy use. Similarly, the Azure cloud has been carbon neutral since 2012, meaning any workloads run on it, are also carbon neutral. Microsoft has pledged to be carbon negative by 2030, so it will remove more carbon each year than it emits.

Go paperless with an e-signature solution

In 2019, the average employee printed approximate 8,000 A4 pages per year. This has a significant environmental impact through the production of printers, paper, and ink. Throughout the pandemic this number likely decreased, however, there’s no reason why most businesses can’t be completely paperless. With Microsoft 365, all documents can be easily electronically shared and don’t need to be printed. Many businesses still print documents and contracts for signing by new employees, vendors, and other key stakeholders. With an e-signature solution, such as DocuSign, businesses can go paperless to reduce their carbon emissions and overall costs. Going paperless with an e-signature solution also increases productivity and gives businesses better control and visibility over processes.

Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability

At Microsoft Ignite November 2021, Microsoft announced the preview release of Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability – an extensible software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution that allows businesses to record, report and reduce their environmental impact through automated data connections and actionable insights. 

The solution connects real-time data sources to provide accurate carbon accounting, measure performance against goals and enable intelligent insights to make more effective action. This will aid businesses with accurate and transparent reporting on carbon emissions from the cloud, devices, applications, and other emission sources. This will also help businesses track their emissions to ensure they are on course to meet their sustainability goals, and if they’re not, the solution will give actionable insights to help them meet them.

What’s next?

It has become increasingly important for all organisations to have a sustainability strategy. IT teams need to play their part by looking for opportunities to reduce their carbon impact and support company sustainability goals. If you would like to explore how technology can help your business reduce your carbon footprint and protect our environment, please get in touch with our team.

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5 ways to reduce your digital carbon footprint at work

Remote work has had a positive impact on many people’s personal carbon footprints over the last year. No commute and less business travel has made us all greener. But what about your digital carbon footprint when working remotely?

The digital workplace is not carbon neutral. Transferring data online requires energy and with internet usage having increased dramatically since March 2020, our global energy demands mean that while remote working may be greener, there is still a carbon cost.

A new study, from Purdue, Yale and MIT, attempted to analyse the carbon costs on the connectivity and data infrastructure that makes remote working possible. They found that activities like video conferencing or streaming can produce up to 1000 grams of carbon dioxide an hour. The amount produced differs depending on the video quality,  HD video streaming produces up to 440g, video conferencing on Microsoft Teams or Zoom 160g – watching YouTube videos produces 1000g.

Compared to driving to a meeting where a car can produce 8887g of carbon dioxide per gallon of fuel, your Teams meeting is still likely to be a greener alternative; but there are things you could do to reduce your carbon footprint further.

5 steps to reduce your digital carbon footprint

1. Turn your web camera off

Video conferencing has been a very important factor in promoting workplace collaboration and communication during the last 12 months. We would not advocate turning your camera off for all interactions as there are so many benefits to seeing your colleagues’ and customers’ faces, at least for a short time!

But you don’t need to have your camera on all the time. For example, if you’re in a meeting where you’re not actively participating turn your camera off until you take the floor. Or if you’ve already had a video chat with a colleague today, perhaps your next catch up could be without cameras.

2. Reduce video streaming quality

Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is to reduce the quality when streaming videos. Do you really need to watch an on demand webinar in HD on your laptop? Switching from HD to SD can save up to 90% of the energy used to transmit, and ensure there’s more bandwidth available for other people working remotely from your home. Downloading video content to watch on your device also reduces energy use compared to streaming.

3. Manage your emails better

If your inbox is full of emails that are not needed, spend some time deleting them. Data storage requires energy so the fewer unnecessary emails being stored, the lower your carbon footprint. Try to get into good habits like deleting spam immediately and cleaning up your inbox at the end of the day.

Prevent others from adding to your carbon footprint by unsubscribing from marketing emails you’re not interested in. And make a point of asking people to remove you from their lists if you’re receiving unsolicited emails from other businesses. You can even tell them it’s for environmental reasons and perhaps encourage them to adopt greener habits too.

4. Switch off devices, printers and other accessories

If you’re not using a device, switch it off! Lots of people routinely have printers switched on even when they rarely print anything. Even when a device is in sleep mode it’s using energy, so at the end of the working day power down corporate laptops and other devices.

5. Manage your browser more efficiently

From ad pop ups, autoplay on video, to searches and multi-tabs, your internet browser is often using unnecessary energy. Start off by putting some controls in place like blocking pop-up ads and turning off autoplay on videos. Then think before you search in Bing or Google. Is the website you want already in your search history? In which case find it there. Also bookmark regularly visited websites so you don’t need to search, and close unwanted tabs.

Many of the ideas above will also improve the performance of your devices as the less data being transmitted between your device and the cloud, the more bandwidth is available for you to work.

The good news is that remote work and cloud computing is helping many people and organisations reduce their carbon footprint. Simple housekeeping and developing good habits and help you reduce it further.

Digital transformation winners in the financial services sector

When the pandemic hit and the UK abruptly plunged into its first lockdown, many employees were left struggling with a whole range of issues; a major one being technology. Virtually overnight, employees across the world became completely reliant on whether or not their firms had already begun a digital transformation. For some, particularly in the financial services sector, there was a seamless transition to remote working. For others, less so.

The winners were those who had taken early spending decisions to invest and whose company-wide adoption of tech was already underway, or close to completion. According to ft.com, giants KPMG, PwC, EY, Deloitte UK and BDO were piloting tech tools (such as Microsoft Teams) before Covid-19 forced such a major change in working patterns. But, as the CFO of BDO, Stuart Collins, pointed out, “widespread adoption might normally have taken some time”. The pandemic vastly altered the pace of that adoption, with KPMG able to move 18,000 people in its UK and global centres on to the Teams app “overnight”, and BDO integrating the software into working life to such an extent that Mr Collins now says: “It’s hard to remember life without it”.

Ready to get more from Teams? Download our eBook exploring cloud-based calling here >

In the case of early digital investors, the role of the CFO appears to have been pivotal. As businesses increase spend on cloud based and SaaS technology, the buy-in of those in charge of financial strategy and decision-making is imperative. Being IT ready when the pandemic arrived, or at least part-way down that path, was a vindication of their early spending across a broad range of technologies and has left many CFOs fully committed to further investment; which will be music to the ears of Chief IT Officers.

Security and compliance for financial services firms

For those in the financial and professional services industry who were less well prepared, or perhaps less willing to spend their limited budget on IT, the significance of that decision to their business and its employees has been a lesson hard learnt. The ability of tech to innovate operations and improve both customer experience and employee happiness, even without an excessive spend, has been realised by many firms. The key is flexible thinking, planning ahead and being prepared to invest sensibly in a digital transformation.

The good news is that not everything comes with a substantial price tag and for smaller businesses serious about undergoing a digital renovation, there is a wide – and ever-growing – selection of solutions. Tools like Microsoft Teams, offering compliant calling and collaboration, and DocuSign, allowing electronic signatures, are eminently helpful to the financial and PS sectors and come with excellent security features to help keep businesses safe whilst working remotely or office based. “Digitalisation also makes it easier for firms to meet regulatory demands, such as record-keeping, cyber security and data compliance,” says Richard Houghton, CFO at Openwork, and “digital back-up, servicing and customer access” are becoming a basic requirement (ft.com). It really is a win-win in terms of the investment.

The speed of digital transformation is accelerating, for companies of all sizes, with the pandemic challenging the view of its importance and placing it squarely at the centre of current and future strategic plans. For customers too, their use of tech has rapidly changed, as has their comfort with it and their expectations of it.

If your financial services or PS firm is looking to meet that challenge and aims to transform or enhance their technologies, we can offer some quick advice on the solutions best suited to them and the sector.

Remote education – balancing productivity and security

Students across the world have been met with a very atypical environment this educational year. They’re trading desks in classrooms for virtual learning spaces, and teachers have so far been faced with many challenges associated with this kind of learning.

Whilst nothing will replace in-person teaching, education has been trending towards remote learning for some time due to the benefits it can offer to some. Modern tools have allowed students to study in their own homes without long commute times and have helped schools to cut down on costs.

One of the major shakeups to the education industry in the past five years has been the entry of Microsoft. No longer content to offer its generic Microsoft 365 services, the IT giant now offers solutions specifically tailored to students and teachers. None of these tools so far have made more waves than Microsoft Teams — a collaboration hub for communication and file sharing that is perfectly suited to remote learning.

Unrivalled benefits for remote learning

With Microsoft Teams, students can discuss and collaborate with their peers in a unified manner regardless of the device they are using. Real-time, collaborative document editing allows multiple students to work on the same file at once and teachers to be able to check and edit work without physical exchange of workbooks. In-built voice, video, and chat enables effective communication between students and teachers and gives students the chance to stay social with their peers. Another invaluable integration comes in the form of Whiteboard, which brings a classroom-like mind mapping experience.

Solutions like Teams also helps students to understand and be heard; an important benefit when learning remotely. When a teacher is presenting, they can raise their hand to call attention, while an integrated immersive reader helps those with eyesight and focus issues stay invested in text chat. Once a class is over, teachers can utilise Teams to set and track assignments. As a partial replacement for on-site intuition, they can also check the insights dashboard, which gives detailed student engagement data.

Cost reduction and digital transformation

Remote education can also significantly reduce costs and suit budget-restricted institutions and students. Both pupils and schools can benefit from lowered textbook, transportation, and rental costs. E-signature tools like DocuSign can also save money, reducing the amount of physical paperwork whilst speeding up the process of signing and reviewing documents.

Schools that don’t want to go fully digital can adopt a hybrid model; students can be physically on campus part-time and still benefit from tools like Teams and OneDrive to sync documents and feedback to their home PC. This is proving invaluable for students that need to self-isolate because of potential contact with Covid-19 cases.

Crucially, DocuSign and Microsoft Office for Education provide these features without compromising security. It’s no secret that educational organisations are a target for cyber-criminals. A late 2019 government report found that 41% of primary schools and 76% of secondary schools had identified a breach in the past 12 months. For further and higher education, that figure is 80%.

Clearly, educational institutions are an enticing target for criminals. They hold large amounts of profitable data and often aren’t as security aware as commercial businesses. As a result, it’s vital that organisations take advantage of the latest tools to protect students, data and research.

Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory Connect lets institutions with flexible education methods extend their on-premises identity to secure cloud access at home. It’s Information Protection and Cloud App Security solutions protect student data regardless of location, while the Mobility and Security features provide threat analysis tools to automatically spot attacks via behavioural analytics.

That said, government research shows that most breaches in education come not through viruses or malware but from phishing emails. To battle phishing attacks, a solution like Mimecast Email Security can be implemented. Stopping the majority of phishing and spam emails before they reach the inbox reduces the impact of poor cyber-education.

Ransomware also poses a big threat to the education industry. Though successful attacks are lower than other methods, they’re incredibly damaging when they succeed, often wiping out masses of valuable data. Educational institutions should ensure their security solution includes regular backups of on-premises, cloud, and mobile data, mitigating the risk of long downtime and devastating losses.

Fortinet and Azure integration

Many educational institutions use Fortinet solutions on-premise, but did you know that Fortinet delivers an Enterprise-class solution for Microsoft Azure users to protect application workloads beyond standard Azure security services? Integrated cyber security solutions provide protection whether virtual, in the cloud or on-premises.

As a Fortinet Expert Partner and Microsoft Gold Partner, Cloud Business has helped many schools and HE institutions migrate to the Microsoft cloud while protecting their networks, assets and people from cyber attack.

The world has changed a lot over the past year, but so has the way educational institutions utilise technology. Remote working tools are making learning more accessible and inexpensive than ever, while adoption of recent security innovations helps students and teachers stay secure even when remote. If you’d like to chat about building a remote learning model that’s truly secure, we can help.

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Is this the year of the paperless office?

Digital technology has long been hyped as the route to a paperless office.

In the last decade or so, most businesses have dramatically reduced their paper consumption. The rows of filing cabinets containing every piece of correspondence and documentation are long gone. The contents of those files have been scanned and digitalised, stored on a secure server to be called up in an instance when required. The post bag is a shadow of its former self, and the photocopier machine is gathering dust.

But many of us are still reliant on the office printer and the paperless office is not yet a reality. Regardless of email footers asking whether “you really need to print this email” and company policies to reduce paper consumption, most workplaces still have a long way to go before they can claim to be a paperless office.

However, we think that’s changing and 2020 could be the year we see companies making significant progress towards a paperless workplace. Why now? Read on:

3 key drivers to a paperless office in 2020

  1. Climate change is on the board’s agenda

Environmental concern is at its highest level since YouGov started tracking public opinion on this topic amongst a decade ago. As well as pressure on the Government to take action, activists are also calling on organisations and businesses to improve environmental sustainability. Material consumption is one of the targets and that’s driving interest in products like DocuSign as one way of reducing paper usage.

The need for signatures on documents has long been a barrier to the paperless office. Many offices resort to printing the document, signing it, and then scanning it to create a digital copy. Questions about the validity of an electronic signature have also prevented some organisations from adopting these paperless solutions.

However, products like DocuSign have overcome these challenges. First and foremost, the process of signing a document is completely digital – no paper is involved. Secondly, multiple levels of authentication ensure the right person signs the document. And thirdly, these contracts are legally binding and accepted for most global business transactions. DocuSign also has advanced signature options that can further reduce your risk for regulated or high-value transactions by complying with local or industry eSignature standards.

Download our e-book to learn more about how DocuSign can create a compliant and truly paperless process.

  1. Millennials don’t need paper printouts

The younger workforce – Millennials and Generation Z – has grown up with technology and is used to viewing information on a screen. While older members of staff may want to print a document, from habit or because they find paper copies easier to read, this is not a problem for younger employees.

Experts predict that by 2020, millennials will make up 35% of the global workforce with Gen Z making up 24%. That’s over half the workforce, all digitally savvy and used to reading, annotating and reviewing information on a computer, tablet or mobile.

I think their working practices will increasingly influence older generations too. For example, when attending a meeting they’re more likely to come armed with just their device to view a presentation or look through a report. With exposure, those employees who would normally requested a printout will become more accustomed to viewing a digital version, and will start to see the benefits too.

  1. 83% of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud by 2020

Whether on public or private cloud platforms, or using hybrid models, it’s predicted that 83% of enterprise workloads will be running in the cloud by 2020.

Why’s this significant? Cloud collaboration solutions negate the need for paper as documents, spreadsheets, presentations, notes and messages can be shared digitally in real-time. There are numerous benefits including:

  • Reducing human error – paper documents can be misfiled resulting in hours spent looking for them. Whereas documents stored in the cloud can be searched for in seconds.
  • Greater transparency – sharing documents using solutions such as Office 365 increases collaboration and transparency. Unique documents don’t need to be physically delivered to stakeholders one at a time (and there’s no need to print multiple copies) everyone can view the most up-to-date version at any time.
  • Better security – cloud solutions give organisations better control over who has access to documents and data, compared to documents sitting in a filing cabinet. Whether it’s to protect against insider or external threats, rules and security defences are better protection than a filing cabinet key.
  • Fast communications – email has been a key driver in reducing paper consumption in business – provided that people don’t print them out… Other digital solutions are also removing the need for paper communications. Tools like Microsoft Teams, Yammer and SharePoint make it really easy and convenient to communicate with colleagues without needing to physically deliver a note.

These cloud benefits not only reduce your need for paper but also drive efficiencies in your organisation, increase productivity and collaboration, and reducing costs. Not just the cost of printer paper, post it notes and message pads either! It’s also a more affordable and flexible way of managing your IT.

So will your office be paperless by the end of 2020? The technology is certainly there to achieve this goal. And the appetite is also there amongst many organisations and their employees to become environmentally sustainable. Get in touch if you would like to discuss how this could be achieved in your office.

docusign esignature

DocuSign is now part of our Digital Productivity Portfolio

Cloud Business is pleased to announce the addition of DocuSign – the global market leader in e-signature solutions to our cloud services portfolio.

As digital workplace experts, we specialise in helping our clients harness digital productivity within their working environments. DocuSign’s Digital Transaction Management and eSignature services are proven to play a pivotal role in increasing productivity within the Digital Workplace, especially in an Office 365 user environment.

Explore how DocuSign increases digital productivity

DocuSign is proven to deliver cost savings to an organisation: According to DocuSign, workplaces on average will save $36 per document processed electronically rather than a traditional paper based format. This is because by implementing electronic signatures, and contract processing and retention, it enables companies to reduce printing, paper, communication, legal, and storage costs. Particularly for organisations with multiple sites and those who need to retain and refer. So a company signing 100+ documents a month will save $3600 per month or an annual saving of $43000+!

DocuSign significantly helps reduce your companys carbon footprint. The materials we use to buy, sell and build have an extraordinary effect on the environment, as well as the productivity and bottom line of your business. That’s why the smartest option is to, whenever possible and if not entirely, skip the use of paper. DocuSign has recently announced reducing consumption of approximately 837 tons of paper or nearly 14,230 trees. No longer will you need to waste expenses to print and send long winded proposals and wait a week for them to be signed and then sent back. DocuSign cuts this process in half, saving you money, time and the environment.

DocuSign will improve team collaboration through its out-of-box integration with Office 365 – At Cloud Business, we are strong believers that technology should bring teams together and increase employee engagement. DocuSign’s out-of-the-box integration with Microsoft Office 365 means that users benefit from a seamless, end-to-end e-signature solution integrated into their most familiar and widely-used applications.

For example, users can create and send a document for approval and signature in Word; send, receive, and sign attachments securely from within Outlook; sign, request a signature on, and track the status of documents in a SharePoint library; and save completed documents. This then will improve productivity and collaboration within departments including sales, finance, HR, IT, legal, support, marketing, and procurement.

Want to find out more about how to drive productivity with DocuSign for Office 365?Download our e-book to learn more about DocuSign’s partnership with Microsoft Office 365 and the seamless end-to-end users benefits. 

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